Let's Get Social:

  • Home
  • Industry Articles, News and Events
  • Industry Articles

Meet The Masonry Advocate 

David Biggs P.E., S.E. 

David Biggs

Behind Every Successful Person,
There Are Many Successful Relationships 

Written by: Amanda Bedian 

They say hard work pays off… and they were right! David Biggs’ success defines that advice and has proven that when you do what you love and truly care about the impact you make, the world is your oyster. Biggs has never stopped learning; he keeps an open mind and tactfully positions himself to grow. It is this mindset that has allowed him to mentor the next generation of great engineers, travel the world and enjoy the little things in life, like watch his grandchildren grow up.

We all end up on a path, most of the time we can’t remember how we got there, but for some of us, we can pinpoint the memory as if it was yesterday.  As a young boy in first grade, Biggs’ art teacher pointed out that he would do well in mechanical drawing, this was it – this planted the seed. From the prized words of that valued teacher to earning his Architectural Merit Badge in Boy Scouts to working in a local architecture firm, Biggs knew this was his calling. He didn’t know where his journey would lead him, but he was confident in knowing that he would be contributing to society in ways that would have an impact in communities for years to come.

Continue Reading

Meet the Masonry Contractor

DeBrino Caulking Associates

DeBrino Caulking Associates

Trust the Process

Written by: Amanda Bedian

A young nineteen-year-old man who was figuring out life and his journey knew one thing: he didn’t want to continue being a grocery store clerk. Lew Houghtaling wanted more, he wanted to make more money, work with his hands and make a contribution to his community. A friend suggested applying for a job as a mason with a local contractor, and what a great suggestion that was.

 DeBrino was a household name at this time and was a large contractor with a big book of business. Lew had no idea what opportunities would be waiting for him if he joined the team but the money alone was enough ammunition to apply. In 1970 Lew joined the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union and was working for DeBrino Caulking Associates earning $4.25 an hour. He knew it was a step in the right direction as he was making a living wage and had benefits, but little did he know what kind of impact this career decision would make on him.

For the first two years at DeBrino, Lew learned the ropes as an apprentice. He focused on mastering his craft as a Pointer, Caulker, Cleaner working on large scope jobs like Empire State Plaza and various buildings in the Downtown Albany area. He worked his was up the ladder earning the Foreman position after two years. The scope of work only got bigger. DeBrino covered a large territory leading Lew to work on the rehab of Yankee Stadium in 1976, SUNY Binghamton, Alfred University and Syracuse University. Work was steady and he was happy with the path he took but then things took a big turn.

Continue Reading

Meet The Masonry Contractor

C & S CO., Inc. 


 Written by: Amanda Bedian
We've heard the story before when meeting a mason: "My father was a mason, I am a mason"—it seems all too familiar to have a family owned business with a long pedigree of hard working masons. Anticipating my next Meet the Mason Spotlight, I wondered how this interview would go. To my delight, meeting this father/son duo, Paul L Cantarella and Paul Junior, was more than just the average meet and greet interview. Their energy was exciting and inviting, and they were reminiscent of how they got where they are today—it felt like we were sitting at the kitchen table swapping stories of the good old days, even though this was my first time there.
Building a family name you can trust isn't just a tag line, it is a way of life for the Cantarellas. It all started in 1934 when John L Cantarella and Bill Santazica came together to form C&S Company. John, a mason, and Bill, a tile setter, set out to perform the masonry details in the Pittsfield Massachusetts area focusing on residential work along with some commercial work. This was just the beginning.

Meet The Masonry Contractor

Alliance Masonry

 Transforming a Vision into Reality.
 Written by: Amanda Bedian
It’s funny how someone can attend monthly meetings for years, share experiences and brain storm ideas with the same people, but never really get to know who is at the table. It’s not until you take the time to ask the ultimate question: “What is your story?” Because up until that turning point, you make assumptions: They’re here so they must be an advocate for the trade, but why? Why did they choose masonry?  

 A son of a mason, he understood the trade. In fact, it’s all he knew growing up but his story isn’t like so many others who own mason contracting companies. This wasn’t a generational pass-down. Alliance Masonry was built with knowledge of the trade and a vision.

As a kid, Brett Sherman would go to his dad’s projects and walk around admiring all the commotion of a job site. Turning admiration into something real, he started working on the job site.

“It was a different time, the rules weren’t as stringent. You could be a kid helping your dad on the job site. I remember being ten years old being a tender on a job in Geneva.”

His dad made a career out of the masonry industry. He was a superintendent for a company, which was his path, not the same path Brett wanted to take at the time. Brett went to school to get a degree in law enforcement. He’d work construction during school breaks and summer, but, at that time, his path was strictly in the eyes of the law. Well, until entrepreneurship sounded more appealing. He decided he wanted to build something great, something he could call his own and create a positive reputation to support it. That was his dream, and nothing was going to get in his way.

Continue Reading


A Company Built On Integrity, Strength and Quality

Written by: Amanda Bedian                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Allegrone: Al – a – Grone - E - They’re a staple to the masonry restoration and preservation construction community with a timeline stretching as far back as 1921. The Allegrone family business is in its fourth generation and has grown immensely from the roots they planted almost 100 years ago. A company built as strong as the masonry materials they represent, Louis C. Allegrone developed a company built on integrity, strength, and quality. With hard work and determination, Allegrone’s original focus on restoration construction in Massachusetts has grown to cover New York and Pennsylvania as well. Territory is not grown that much by pure luck, it’s the reputation and quality Allegrone delivers that allows them to be a powerhouse in masonry restoration and preservation.     
Beginning as a restoration mason contractor, Allegone branched off into several divisions all falling under the same umbrella. Still family owned and operated, they had a vision and a plan that has not failed and only encourages growth and stability in the construction community. When they decided to bring on Michael Mucci to run the masonry division after Louis C. Allegrone retired, they were taking a chance. Mucci was not family and had very big shoes to fill. Now President of Masonry Construction, Mucci had to earn this position and has proven to be an asset to the family name. He has been a part of the Allegrone team for 13 years, beginning as a General Manager, and is highly qualified with a Civil Engineer degree and Master’s in Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute allowing him to understand both sides of the fence: construction and how to properly run a business. 
When Michael decided to expand the masonry restoration and preservation division into the growing market of exterior envelope projects, it opened many doors. A project Michael and the Allegrone masonry team is very proud of is the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York. A project that encompassed what exterior envelope projects are all about: waterproofing, window replacement and repair, roof repairs, and complete exterior encapsulation. They knew they had a big task ahead of them, but one they were prepared for. The project was completed in a one-and-a-half-year time period with many obstacles to face, but Allegrone came out on time and with a very happy client, the U.S National Park Service.

 OSHA releases free silica compliance tools for contractors

Dive Brief:


Continue Reading


SPOTLIGHT PROJECT: State Tower Building - Syracuse, New York Wins Gold at ACI Design & Installation Awards

Written by: Amanda Bedian 

Architecture firm Thompson and Churchill had a vision when they designed the State Tower Building back in 1928. State Tower stands as the tallest building at 312 feet and 23 stories in the City of Syracuse. Ninety years later Lupini Construction had the task of preserving the essence of this nationally recognized historic building and bringing it back to life.
The bones of the building consist of steel framing with a limestone, brick and terra-cotta façade. Over the years the building wasn’t properly maintained to preserve the integrity of the building causing damage throughout the exterior. When Pioneer Companies purchased the building in 2016, they were determined to rescue the building and transform the structure back to its original splendor. With the design direction of Holmes, King, Kallquist & Associates, the structural expertise and knowledge from Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt and the masonry craftsmanship delivered by Lupini Construction the project came to life and was finished under a very tight schedule.

Meet AJS Masonry

A Company valued on family and tradition      

Written by: Amanda Bedian 

 Having worked decades for himself, Andrew Sciocchetti, Sr. was not only looking to build a future for his family, but a legacy in which his Business could expand. At the age of 18, Andrew Sciocchetti, Jr. decided to pursue a career with his Father and AJS Masonry, Inc. was born in 1988. Established as a two-man crew, Father and Son, they worked towards the American Dream of building a business. Thirty years later, Andy Sciocchetti, Jr. is still in the driver seat, having taken the company from two employees, to an office team of 6 plus dozens of craft workers in the field self-performing Masonry, Concrete, and Masonry Restoration on virtually any notable project in and around the Capital Region.


Continue Reading



Written by: Amanda Bedian

Many stories begin with a family business idea—some find the gumption to act on these ideas, while others stray because they fear the unknown, The Casler Family exudes qualities of the former and has created a business without hesitation.                                                                             

 The year was 1975. Harold J. Casler, having followed in his father in-law Joseph O’Connor’s footsteps, Harold had already reached a twenty-year milestone as member of the local Bricklayers and Allied Craftworks Union based out of Auburn, New York. Being a master of the trade did not end with Harold. Two of his sons, Michael and Matthew      Casler, each with tenured experience under their belts, like their father, were members of the local Bricklayers and Allied Craftworks Union. With over 30 years of combined experience, these three men
joined together to form Casler Masonry. 


Original article from NCMA eNews
You often see noise barriers or sound barriers (as referenced in other parts of the country) that line busy roadways constructed from precast concrete panels or tilt-up concrete walls. However, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) required something completely different for this stretch of Route 167 in the corridor between Tacoma and Seattle.

This nearly two-mile-long sound barrier is constructed of concrete masonry units (CMU), something that Jim Reynolds, the general manager and safety director of out of Marysville, Washington, hasn’t seen constructed for at least 20 years on the west side of the Cascades.


Continue Reading


A new study finds that forests are key to reducing the state’s climate impacts.

A study from Oregon State University has found that logging and wood products are the biggest source of carbon dioxide in Oregon. The wood products sector generated about 1.5 times more CO2 emissions than the transportation and energy sectors.

Continue Reading

Cardiff scientists are set out to develop self-healing masonry

A system that can be simply applied to building stone and masonry to give it self-healing properties.

Cardiff scientists are set out to develop self-healing masonry
Image: Cardiff University

In order to develop buildings and historic structures, Cardiff scientists are exploiting the unique properties of bacteria to help develop a self-healing masonry. The system can be simply applied to building stone and masonry to give it self-healing properties.

Continue Reading

Construction Site Fire In Denver: 2 Missing, 5 Injured

Construction workers broke bones "jumping off the 2nd and 3rd floor" as building went up in flames a Denver Fire spokesman said.

By Jean Lotus, Patch Staff  | Updated 

Construction Site Fire In Denver: 2 Missing, 5 Injured

DENVER, CO -- UPDATE: 2nd Body Found At Denver Construction Site Fire Scene

Two persons were still unaccounted for Wednesday in a mid-afternoon Denver construction site fire that completely destroyed an apartment building under construction. Construction workers were also injured "jumping off the second and third floors" and others were injured "trying to catch them." One firefighter was also being treated for minor burns, said Denver Fire Captain Greg Pixley.

The blaze Pixley called "catastrophic and dangerous" set an adjacent building on fire, and floating embers ignited the rooftops of six other adjacent structures, Pixley said. Several construction vehicles and about 30 cars caught fire in the parking lot and three fire engines were damaged by the heat. Around 100 firefighters helped to fight the inferno.

Construction workers who spoke to Pixley said they first saw the flames on the third floor around 12:09 p.m. The fire took about 120 minutes to become "under control."

Continue Reading


From NCMA's eNews

Six months after flames engulfed a London high-rise and sparked concerns about similarly-clad buildings around the world, a The National Association of State Fire Marshalls Research Foundation has developed a tool aimed at making buildings safer.

Continue Reading